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Young Takes Mound for Rangers
Created: 8/23/2004 11:51:36 AM


It's been a 43-year break but on Tuesday, when Chris Young takes to the mound for the Texas Rangers, he will become the first Princeton Tiger to start a major league game since Dave Sisler in 1961. MLB.com reports that Young will be called up from Triple-A Oklahoma by the Rangers to start against the first-place Minnesota Twins at Ameriquest Field in Arlington, Texas.

It is a homecoming for Young who grew up in nearby Dallas, Texas, and went to Highland High School. Young has shined this season in the Rangers' minor league system. He started the season with the Double-A Frisco Roughriders, going 6-5 with a 4.48 ERA in 18 games. While with Frisco though he struck out 75 batters and walked only 31 in 88.1 innings pitched.

If Young's Double-A numbers look good, his stats since being called up to Oklahoma have been dazzling. The 6-foot-10 righty is 3-0 in five starts with a miniscule 1.48 ERA. He has given up only five earned runs in five starts and has struck out 34 over 30.1 innings pitched.

Young enters a rotation that is led by aging star Kenny Rogers and up-and-comer Ryan Drese, but has been hurt by injuries over the last few weeks. If Young sticks in the rotation he would next start on Sunday at 1:05 pm versus Baltimore. The Rangers are tied with Anaheim, a half game behind the American League West leading Oakland A's and one game behind the Boston Red Sox in the race for the A.L. wildcard.

Young holds a unique place in Ivy League history; he is the first and only male athlete to win Ivy League Rookie of the Year honors in two sports, baseball and basketball.

"Chris being such a good athlete in two sports, I'll never take credit for being a good one-sport athlete," said Robert Tufts, the last Princeton baseball player to appear in a Major League game when he played for the Kansas City Royals in 1983. Tufts went on to say that it was inevitable he would lose the honor of being the most recent Tiger to suit up, "How well the program has been the last few years, it was only a matter of time."

Young left Princeton in 2000 after being drafted in the third-round of the Major League Baseball first-year player draft by the Pittsburgh Pirates. In December of 2002, Young was traded to the Montreal Expos for major league pitcher Matt Herges and then in April of 2004 Young was shipped to the Rangers as part of a deal that sent catcher Einar Diaz to the Expos.

"Chris has made a great impression in his first year with the organization," said Cornell grad and Rangers' Assistant General Manager Jon Daniels. "He's shown tremendous aptitude in picking up what our minor league staff has put in front of him in a relatively short period of time, and the results have been there. He's improved everytime out and deserves this opportunity."

When Young picks up the rosin bag for the first time on Tuesday it will be just three days short of 43 years since the last Princeton athlete, Dave Sisler, started a Major League Baseball game at any position. Sisler didn't fair too well on August 27, 1961. According to the Elias Sport Bureau, Sisler started game two of a doubleheader versus the Detroit Tigers. The son of Hall-of-Famer George Sisler, threw just 4.1 innings while giving up six earned runs on seven hits. Needless to say, Sisler took the loss while walking three and striking out three.

The Washington Senators, Texas Rangers, and Minnesota Twins share another connection. In 1960, the Senators left Washington, moved to Minnesota and became the Twins. Major League Baseball re-established a team in the nation's capital until after the 1971 season when the Senators packed up and moved again, this time to become the Texas Rangers. In many ways, Chris Young's first start is for the same team as Dave Sisler's last start and will come against the same exact team.

Not only will family and friends surround Chris Young on Tuesday in Arlington. The Dallas native will also have some Ivy Leaguers rooting him on for the within the Rangers organization. Rangers' veteran radio play-by-play man Eric Nadel, a member of the Texas Baseball Hall of Fame, is a Brown grad. Along with Daniels, the AGM, baseball operations intern Jon Watterson was a teammate of Young's at Princeton. Watterson was a first-team All-Ivy pick with Young in 2000.

One the eve of his first start, there might be some advice from the most recent Princetonian to appear in a Major League but the former relief pitcher resists.

"[Young's] too good an athlete for me to give him any advice," said Tufts. "The issue now becomes once you get there, how do you stay there? How do you adjust? With the right coaching and with his physical size he could be very good for a long time."

The game will be shown on KDFI, a local station in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. It will be available at MLB.tv. For more information on that, please click here.

"I'd love to watch the game," said Tufts. "I'll make sure to watch Baseball Tonight [on ESPN]. If Harold Reynolds is on it would be interersting to see him make the Randy Johnson comparison."



Related Schools: Princeton
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